By: Emily Walker, Olivia McKelvey, Kevin Boodoosingh
On Dec. 2, President T. Dwayne McCay and multiple senior administrators addressed concerns involving the Clery Act violations, apologized to the student body and discussed plans and reforms to come in the wake of the underreporting of crime statistics.
“The reporting was done poorly, it was very flawed, it’s never going to go unnoticed again,” McCay said.
The Clery Act is a federal law that requires federally funded colleges and universities in the United States to publish statistics regarding reports of crime on and around campuses annually. Clery reports are required to cover the past three years’ worth of crime statistics and must be released every Oct. 1.
Florida Tech is federally funded, thus making it a university that is required to release an annual Clery report.
Since the annual report was released, three students have come forward with reports of rape on campus that were not counted in the annual report.
McCay addressed the Florida Tech community, saying:
“I apologize to the student body for a misleading report, and not only on the Department of Education website, but also the report that was issued,” McCay said. “I plan to have a more personal hand in this in the future. I also want to assure the campus that the safety of our young men and young women was never something that we neglected.”
The Crimson met with the following senior administrators on Dec 2:
- Frank Kinney—senior vice president for External Relations, Chief of Staff
- Frank Iannone—director of security
- Patrick Healy—General Council
- Fanak Baarmand—risk and compliance manager
- Eric Kledzik—senior vice president of operations
- Wes Sumner—vice president for Marketing and Communications
- T. Dwayne McCay—president of Florida Tech
“One thing we did not do was train our people well enough,” McCay said.
He also said that he would personally do better in the future and that he believed the issue would be “cleared up within three months.”
Iannone, who was the first to notice inconsistencies in the data gathered for the 2019 Annual Security and Fire Safety Reports, said he suspected inaccuracies in the data in August but had no tangible evidence.
“From my background experience and looking at where the campus is located in comparison to other campuses I worked on, I thought the statistics were a little lower than what I had expected,” Iannone said.
When asked why no disclaimer was put on the 2019 Annual Security and Fire Safety reports for the Sept. 27 release, McCay emphasized that there was no tangible evidence of inconsistencies and the importance of timeliness in reporting to the Department of Education by the Oct. 1 deadline.
“It’s a shame that timeliness might be more important than accuracy,” McCay said.
When creating the annual report, Security compiles data from multiple sources such as Florida Tech’s Title IX department, Melbourne Police Department, Palm Bay Police Department and the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.
As part of Baarmand’s job description as risk and compliance manager, it is her duty to help the university’s internal departments work together and provide the needed data for the report.
“We are trying to build that bridge so Security can reach out easily to HR and Student Affairs and gather that information easily for their reports,” Baarmand said. “We are trying to make sure that departments work and collaborate together.”
When The Crimson met with Linda Jancheson, Florida Tech’s Title IX coordinator, prior to the publications regarding Florida Tech’s Clery violations, she said that she did not know the number of rapes that had been reported to her during her time at her job, nor did she know the number of Title IX reports she gave to Security for the 2019 Security and Fire Safety Reports.
She was asked these questions two times in two interviews and said, “I do not know,” in both instances.
McCay and Healy—who Jancheson reports to—said Jancheson did not act in a negligent manner to their knowledge.
Since the Dec. 2 interview, both Jancheson and Healy have not responded to further requests for comments.
McCay said that the Clery data does not come across many desks prior to publication and is only seen by the Department of Security.
In a phone call, Rodney Bowers, the dean of students, said he does not remember reading the 2019 Security and Fire Safety Reports after it was released on Sept. 27.
“I’m sure I have seen the annual report before in my years here at the university,” Bowers said.
He added that if he ever noticed a mistake in the annual reports, he would “bring it to the attention of campus security immediately.”
Bino Campanini, the senior vice president of Student Life and Alumni Affairs and chief student advocate, stated that he did not see Florida Tech’s 2019 Security and Fire Safety Reports until the first Crimson publication regarding Clery inaccuracies. Campanini expressed his desire to be more involved when the annual reports are being compiled in the future.
“This issue is being taken very, very seriously,” Campanini said. “This is not something by any means that we are trying to push under the table. There is no one on this campus that does not care about our students. My number one concern is, do our students feel safe on this campus? I will say one hundred percent positively they do and that we do have a safe campus.”
Concluding the Dec 2. interview, McCay said, “You can talk to anyone in this room anytime you want to, and I never have had a problem with people talking to the administrators and the deans and all that.”
Follow-up interviews were requested to the following university employees that play important roles in campus safety and Clery reporting:
- Carl Lewis—security officer
- Fanak Baarmand—risk and compliance manager
- Bonnie Rinck—security sergeant and Title IX investigator
All communication with these individuals was forwarded to Sumner, who replied with the following statement each time:
“As Dr. McCay shared in your recent interview with him, the university is in the midst of a comprehensive internal review of this matter with an external review planned as well. It would be premature to additionally discuss specific details at the present time. As Dr. McCay indicated, Florida Tech will be pleased to provide additional information when it becomes available, as well as address any additional questions.”
Efforts were also made to follow up via email with the individuals listed below, all of whom referred further questions and concerns to be sent to Sumner:
- Holzer Health Center
- Cat Nanney—director of Student Involvement
Moving forward, McCay has stated that the plan is to have an outside consultant hired within the next 60 days. The outside consultant will help conduct a full internal review of crime statistics dating at least three years back with the potential to examine data as far as seven years back.
“We are confident that the report is wrong, and we want to correct that as quickly as possible,” McCay said.
After an internal and external review has been conducted, the university plans to request to re-open Florida Tech’s crime statistics on the Department of Education website to enter the corrected data while providing a disclaimer as to why corrections were made. A new 2019 Annual Security and Fire Safety Reports will then be issued out to all students, staff and faculty.